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    The L-Word Season 1 Episode 3 – Let’s Do It

    S1 Episode 3 – Let’s Do It

    The title of this episode was very appropriate as it dealt with most of characters coming to terms or making a bold decision about something that they were conflicted about. They just took the bull by the horns and said “let’s do it”. The group dynamics were palpable, the intimate moments touching, and the overriding humor was a great way to present some very heavy subjects in a light-hearted way.

    I loved everything about Bette and Tina’s scenes together. It was so obvious that they were in a good place in their relationship, they are both ready to start a family, they have re-connected on all levels as a couple. It was beautiful to watch.

    We saw a different side of Bette than the one we were introduced to in the pilot and episode 2. She portrayed the self-righteous woman, strong in her convictions and not compromising in her beliefs but we also saw a gentle, loving, caring, softer, humorous side of Bette which drew me in deeper. In the pilot and episode 2, she came off as so self-centered and self-absorbed that you would think that she didn’t have a heart. We saw more of Bette’s heart in this episode.

    Loved Tina in this episode because like Bette we saw another dimension to this character that we had not seen before. We saw Tina’s inner strength, and her nurturing nature. We saw that she is the type of person that is not impulsive in her decision making. She needs to process things in her own time, and in her own way. She tries to see the good in people and she is a peacemaker.

    I might have reacted the same as Bette did to Kit’s attempt to make amends given the situation. Kit did not sound sincere, and she did not sound like these were things coming from her heart. She was reading them, and most of them sounded pretty trivial to me. Also, just because you are ready to say something does not mean that the other person is ready to hear it, and you need to respect that. This scene also gave us the impression that Tina (the peacemaker) might be the reason Kit is still in Bette’s life.

    My heart just went out to Jenny in this episode. She is in so much trouble. She was fragile to begin with, and getting involved with Marina was just the beginning of the cracks in her psyche that ultimately leads to her demise.

    Alice / Dana / Shane: These guys really click and it’s fun to watch their interactions. I loved that they knew when they were over their heads with relationship issues and decided to consult Bette and Tina.

    I loved everything about how they carried out the “Lara” mission, from the planning stages in the bedroom to the execution at the restaurant.

    I found it a bit ironic that “the four “F”s “ Shane was giving Alice advise about Gabby, but I knew Alice wasn’t going to be able to resist.

    This was the first time Shane was “called out” and she totally deserved it. Fast forward six years later – nothing changed. Only the stakes are higher.

    Overall, I really enjoyed this episode. I experienced a great sense of joy when Tina told Bette that she wanted to have her baby using Marcus’ sperm. I felt compassion for Jenny and her struggles with her sexuality and her conflicts about her relationship with Tim and Marina. I was sympathetic to Dana and her plight of being attracted to someone, but not knowing their disposition and intent.

    I understood Alice’s temptation to bite into the forbidden fruit, even though she knew the consequences. But what stood out most for me in this episode is not only how connected these friends are, but how they blur all the boundaries. We are stepping into their world of “framily” to use Max’s word. With the exception of Marina who is on the outside of this group we are seeing just how interrelated these friends really are and how they connect as a family.

    Comments

    1. This is the episode which caused me to fall in love with this series. This was the episode which showed me what wonderful people these women really were. Even though fictional, I very much wanted to know these characters as people. They loving and caring of each other. They were funny and sarcastic and blunt and even silly beyond belief. And if you really didn’t secretly desire to be one of them, you wouldn’t have mind if they were all within your own friendship circle.

      As I watch the series, I began to wonder how these people not only became friends but remained friends. After all the antics between them, the disappointments, the failures to behave as they were expected to within the group would have broken up many a close knit family. But not these girls. What kept them together? What did they all have in common? 1) They were women 2) Lesbian or bi-sexual women 3) They were of similar age 4) they were at similar status in their lives – looking for their one true love with the exception of Bette & Tina 5) Similar socio-economic status struggling to doing okay financially 6) Had similar family backgrounds – were from broken or non-existent families 7) The had bad or non-existent relationships with their mothers. 8) Politically, they are liberal 9) Religiously – not much except maybe Bette practice some Buddhism 10) And with the exception of Shane, all had some alpha traits in that they would and could display their dominance and control at will. but none were alphas in their personal relationships including Bette.

      People form relationships with people like themselves….and this is why they are friends…close friends. They see themselves in each other and that keeps them bonded.

      Thank you for this essay….its what we need.. There are some of your stories your need to bring to an ending….I know that is a hard thing to do especially since you haven’t been in that story mode for a while. As for Gen Q story line. Do not stress with it. Pick a path and go with it. It will be greater than what on the show.

      • Hey Martha,

        I agree. This is also the episode where I got more interested in the other characters. Bette and Tina got me hooked, and throughout the six years theirs was really the only story line that I followed. I mostly fast forwarded through any scenes without them so I probably missed a lot. Their friendships were definitely unique, but I’ve read several interviews where the actresses said they were pretty much stuck in Canada filming the show six months out of the year so they really bonded in real-life. I think that came through in their characters on the show. They genuinely loved each other as friends and it lasted over two decades even today when you see Jennifer, Leisha, and Kate still closely bonded.

        As for religion Shane did go to confession so may Catholic. Based on conversations between Kit, Melvin and Bette at different times the Porters were probably churchgoers growing up but I think Bette did practice Buddhism. Alice wasn’t a believer. Not sure about Dana. I don’t remember if it ever came up with her.

        Thanks for reading and commenting. I feel like I can always count on you to provide insightful comments, and I do enjoy reading them.

        As for the GenQ story that I am working on I do know the path I want to take so not stressing over that. It just breaks my heart to see how devastated some of the readers are over GenQ that they are avoiding reading stories that are so well-written by several authors on this site. I’m not crazy about what they did to our characters in GenQ but I still want to support the authors and readers to keep the site going and the interest. It could become discouraging if we are writing and we don’t have an audience. However, I do respect everyone’s personal preference. There are a lot of stories posted that I totally skip too because of the subject matter so I guess bottom line is to each his own.

    2. Thank you for posting your comments BAT2012. I miss the fact that we don’t have a place for general discussions any longer and can’t create threads. But then, the old days are long gone and people are not into discussions as much. I participated into season reviews back then and it was a lot of fun. I wish I could go back and read those comments again. I recently had a showtime subscription for a couple of months but it already expired, so I have to rely on memory and yours and Martha3128’s comments. I’ll chime in from time to time.
      – I thought that Bette was a biatch during a lot of S1. The whole idea of finding a donor on her own, a donor who happened to be AA and she wouldn’t even tell Tina, a white Southern woman … OMG, talk about being self-absorbed!
      – Those scenes on Dan Foxworthy’s office are cringeworthy. The way Bette pats Tina’s leg and leaves … so patronizing, so disrespectful. And disrespectful to Dan whom she treats as a hired hand. Tina mentioning to Bette that she didn’t know the donor! As if to say: you want me to agree to create a baby with someone I haven’t even met? And Bette saying something like “he is perfect for us!”.
      – Bette was definitely the dominant in the relationship in S1, sexually and personality wise. It is her nature! But as so often is the case, the alpha is often the one who needs emotional support, reassurance and comfort from the more mild-mannered one.
      – S1 was so well-written that everything falls into place. Everything is said for a reason. There is so much foreshadowing! Bette leaving the party because of Jenny and Marina … so sure of her convictions, so righteous, she was! When Tina tells Bette that she loves who she is, her strong morals … it is heartbreaking to see how Tina’s world will later fall apart when she sees Bette with Candace.
      – IMO, LH was responsible for selling Tibette’s chemistry to us in S1. We have Bette as a character acting as a biatch a lot, inconsiderate, harsh, self-absorbed … but then we have Tina constantly being supportive of her, looking at her with love in her eyes, touching and caressing her back or her hair with softness. These little touches sold the chemistry to the fans in a subliminal way from day one, despite B&T’s disconnect in so many scenes.
      – I also thought that the sex scenes were sold mainly by LH’s acting, showing Tina’s submission to Bette (and orgasming in most scenes). She is very good at that. The insemination scenes, starting with the “we honor you” scene, is really sweet at first, then sexy and full of chemistry later. Probably my second favorite.
      – Cinematically, having a tall woman play the dominant in the relationship seems to work better for the majority of fans. I remember having a discussion back in the day about which actresses could play B&T well. I thought that Jodie Foster as Bette and Halle Berry as Tina would be a believable and talented couple, playing a little with the Blonde/African American features. But a friend said: Jodie Foster is a midget! It would never work! ????
      – Well, if I think of a real Bette Porter, I would say that Rosie O’Donnell is the one that comes close in terms of personality, talent and even ex-wife, who was blonde, used to be a producer and became a stay at home mom. Rosie even said once that her ex-wife was the gardener to her rose. We saw what happened to Rosie after her divorce – completely fell apart just like Bette. Would anyone like to see Rosie as Bette? People like to lust after Bette so … I don’t think so! ????
      – The “mission to ascertain the disposition and intent of one Miss Lara Perkins” was absolutely great! Hilarious! In fact, the scene of the 3 amigas arriving at Tibette’s home on the night of the insemination started me laughing. I mainly credit Erin Daniels for the humor in the scenes. She has great comedic talent. Alice accidentally throwing sperm on Dana … ???? And I can’t forget KM’s sexiness trying to sweet talk the “soup” chef. Perfect! I also remember that, in one interview, LH made the fans happy when she said that it was delicious to spend the day making out with JB in that club.
      – Yes, there was drama in S1, particularly, from Jenny and Tibette, but there was so much lighthearted fun and chemistry among the friends. That was so important for the success of the show, at least to me. I loved the friendship! I equally liked the “step off bitch” scene and Alice’s “I want my vagina rejuvenated” line.
      – There was so much promise in Jenny’s storyline back then! Beautifully acted by MK, before she took Jenny on a totally histrionic path. I don’t really know what happened, but it is as if IC never had any more in store for Jenny beyond how she discovered her sexuality. After that, Jenny became a caricature. No wonder IC eventually killed Jenny. She was dead after S1 anyway.
      – About religion, I remember that Bette was supposed to be Bette Greenberg, Jewish like IC, but JB convinced her to make Bette mixed race like her.
      – Jenny, of course, is Jewish like IC, and Mia even looks like a young IC.
      – Erin Daniels, who is Jewish, read for Bette. It would be interesting. I had confidence in Erin as an actress. She never disappointed me. And in some scenes, with dark lighting, she sometimes even looked like JB … her hair, face. But obviously, she doesn’t have the height and the sexy charisma of JB, so it would be a different Bette for sure!
      – Dana, I believe, comes from a Methodist or some other type of protestant family.
      – Was Shane catholic? I have a vague memory of Shane confessing to a priest. Am I confusing with Finley?
      – I forget exactly how this episode ends but, for most episodes in S1, it would only end with Jenny or Bette. It was all about them.

      • Hi dbff,

        Thank you so much for reading and commenting. I too miss those days of having message boards. The fan base really was invested in the characters and there were many debates, in-depth character studies, what-if scenarios etc.

        I didn’t know any of the history how IC cast the characters or who they were based on but I don’t think I could picture anyone but Jennifer and Laurel as Bette and Tina. I’ve never seen Erin Daniels act in any other show except as Dana so definitely can’t see her as Bette the way Jennifer portrayed her but I agree about the resemblance. There is an opening scene of the L-Word where a dark haired woman is laying on her stomach in bed covered with a sheet and she turns her head like she is just waking up and I think it’s Jennifer but it could also be Erin.

        Shane did go to church to confess in one episode so possibly Catholic.

        I agree about Jenny, her story line could have been so much more. Mia was an amazing actress and perfectly cast. It’s sad what they did to her character. I think Kit was another character that they turned into a caricature. .

        I loved Bette’s character in S1 but after the affair I think they broke her spirit. Yes, she had some rough edges and Tina was a balm but I think Bette was just driven. I could always see her heart and her vulnerability,

        However when Tina got the upper hand she was malicious, self-serving and mean. Maybe it all stemmed from the betrayal but you don’t just turn into that person, it has to be a part of your make-up. It wasn’t until S4 that I think Tina came into her own and the sweet nurturing nature we saw in S1 started to emerge again but she definitely took on a new persona. Bette started to get back some of her assertiveness but definitely softer. By S5 they were on pretty equal ground and likable as people and a couple.

        I made a comment once that I don’t remember Bette laughing in total joy like she did in early S1 until S5. She was so tortured and sadly 10 years later she comes back in GenQ as the same tortured character that can’t seem to get a break.

        I enjoyed reading your thoughts. You have a pretty good memory for not being able to re-watch the old episodes. It’s good to know I’m not the only one that fondly remembers the good ole days.

        take care. stay safe.

    3. I wanted to make a comment about the incident where Bette gets Marcus Allenwood to be a donor. Personally, I never found this to make Bette a bitch! In fact, I found her behavior to be somewhat normal and has occurred in many couples. Let me explain my reasoning. Bette and Tina had been searching for a donor for months. They had used all kinds of methods – direct contact with potential candidates, a donor party in which they came of empty, even an impromptu threesome with a handsome young man who they knew nothing about except he was attractive and he liked art. Talk about strange! Even though they discussed and agreed doing this spur of moment conception, how do you think they would have responded if pregnancy had actually occurred? I think they would be thrilled about the pregnancy but would have regrets as to the selection method. And how would they respond to the questions from their friends and child? I can just hear Bette or Tina say “We just choose this random guy at an art reception, took him home and had a go and here you are!” What happened to medical history? What happened to determining if his swimmers were even viable? Well that all went out the window that night didn’t it?

      So, when Bette runs across a friend whom she believes to be a good candidate and he actually agrees, well why wouldn’t she ask him to donate? Except the guy is leaving the country for months, so the window of opportunity is now. Under normal circumstances, Bette would set up an introductory meeting and allow Tina to make a decision, however the guy is leaving the country. So, set up a donation and a introductory meeting with Tina at the same time. If Tina does not want to use this guy, they never have to use him. This decision is non-binding on Tina. She always has the final say so in whether to use Marcus as a donor or someone else. But at least if she decides to use him as the donor, his swimmers are ready and available while he is in South America somewhere. Could she have communicated with Tina a little better? Sure! But sometime life gets in the way – we get busy, we have work pressures and family pressures and we don’t exactly take everyone’s reactions into account when we act. In this case, Bette did not do this to shut Tina out.. But give their history on finding a donor, I would have expected that if Tina had done the same to Bette (find a donor, have him make donation and meet Bette for a brief moment at the Cryobank),, that the response would have been the same. The bigger problem which I saw was the fact that Tina balked at the fact that Marcus was an Afro-American, than the manner in which Bette introduced him as a candidate. That was resolved to my satisfaction, but that problem could have been a relationship killer for Bette and Tina.

      The fact is that this plot line was one of the better ones. In almost every relationship, couples go through this type of non-communication and decisions which have major impact on the lives of the couple. Many times the decision is non-reversible or binding. In this case, Tina was never bound by Bette’s decision or choice. Tina could always say no right on up until pregnancy occurred. Bette would not have been happy and there would have been more problems had Tina went that route particularly if she rejected Marcus because he was black. But the rejection that she didn’t know him is as flimsy at best considering their history and methodology for finding a donor prior to this. I find it strange that people do not consider Tina a bitch for not thinking she was capable of raising an Afro-American child when she was committed to an Afro-American spouse. When she said it, I thought that she was reaching for an excuse and that was not a true underlying reason for her unhappiness with Bette’s selection of Marcus. I thought it was in how Bette handled it that irritated Tina. However if the roles had been reversed, Tina would have handled it in pretty much the same way.

      The intent for Bette was to act in what she thought was best for the couple. She never intended to usurp Tina’s ability to make the final decision. If she had, then she would have been a bitch.

      • Martha,

        There is also one point that I always found interesting in this interaction. Bette was working under the assumption that she and Tina had conversations prior to getting pregnant that if Tina was the birth mother they would or could use an African American donor so that the baby would reflect both of their heritage. Tina acted as if the conversation never took place or maybe since Bette is bi-racial her idea of sharing heritage was Bette’s white half. But what makes Tina’s response to a Black donor realistic to me is that in none of their previous searches were there non-white men considered. Everyone that they invited to the donor party was white, the French guy was white, the artist they picked up was white. Why was there no introduction of a Black donor sooner even if he wasn’t suitable or even if he turned them down? Could Tina really not remember that conversation or because of the way Bette looks most people don’t even know she is half-Black. Kit called her out on that when she went to her to complain so I think maybe in Tina saying she doesn’t look at Bette as a white woman or black woman it didn’t really hit her until she was confronted with the reality when Marcus knocked on her door.

    4. I think you are absolutely correct. But after thinking it through, Tina agreed that a black donor was the way to go. And she came to that conclusion on her own and not with any badgering from Bette. And we really will never know if they had a conversation about having a black donor or not early in their pregnancy discussions or not. And I think you are right that all the candidates were white and therefore she thought the donor would be white.. Tina was raised in the south in a time where intermarriage between black and white people and raising of biracial children was rare and some of this background could have hit her when she saw Marcus. Yes, I thought that the scene was very realistic. I thought Tina’s response within the realm of a reality. I was still surprised by it – but that is just me. If I had been the show runner, I would not have changed a thing except to clear up whether the original conversation on a potential black donor took place or if it was a misread by Bette of a conversation they had had. But with that as the only omission, I think I would give them a pass. In fact, I would give them kudos for being brave enough to put this into the show. I was one of the few social problems they faced and actually brought to a conclusion.

    5. If I remember correctly, Tina didn’t like Bette’s tone even before she found out that Marcus was African American. Bette came late to the meeting with Dan Foxworthy and said that she found the donor. She may have also said that Tina would have to go to the clinic with him – I don’t remember. I remember Tina saying something like: “I don’t know him!” or “I haven’t met him!”. And Bette insisting: “He is perfect!” So, when Tina saw a black man, I think that she was even more upset that Bette hadn’t even discussed it with her. Even though they chose a random guy for a threesome, that was a decision that they made together and Tina knew the guy.

      As Tina later said to Bette: that is a lot of otherness to impose on a child, or something similar. So, clearly, they never had a serious conversation about it. Bette does not stand out as AA, particularly in LA, where there are so many brown people. She could be Hispanic. She doesn’t socialize with her AA sister or father, and she doesn’t have AA friends. So, my feeling is that her AA identity, and any cultural difference or otherness that might come with it, had not been a part of her life with Tina, as Kit more or less pointed out.

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